Brief Interview with Maria Cino
President and CEO of the 2008 Republican National Convention
September 5, 2008

Question: What have been the two or three biggest challenges in putting this Convention together?

The biggest challenges you always have, I think you always have are budget--making sure that you can pay for what needs to get done.  And I think we established that early on by putting together a really strong organization and really haveing some internal budget constraints, internal budgeting procedures put upon ourselves so we were watching that budget.  So I think it's always budget.

I think the other thing is the challenge you always have with mobility, moving people around.  You're trying to get 45,000 people to the same place at pretty much the same time, and I think transportation is always a challenge.

And I'm not sure if it's the third one or if there is a third one--is really making sure that what happens with regards to what nobody knows, is making sure that that show goes on, and that's the program.  You're always, always making sure that that program is not even minute by minute, but second by second on time.

Question: And that must have been especially challenging with the Hurricane?

Yes, having to change on a dime's notice.  But we got asked that over and over again.  We have been planning this for 18 months and in that 18 months you always have contingency plans.  And I think we proved Monday that we wre able to do just about anything and we did.

Question: How stressful was that to make those changes?

The stress is really in making the decision.  Once the decision's made it's implementation.  So I think it was a stressful time in trying to make the decision to do what was right, what was appropriate, and whether or not to go on at all or what kind of program to have.

Question: The Governor [Pawlenty] mentioned some tension early on; what was he alluding to?

I think when you're dealing with this many people in three cities--this is totally unprecedented, three cities: Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Bloomington--you're trying to get consensus from three cities on so many things.  Again, I'm not sure if it's tension or just really working out decisions so that everyone is happy and acceptant of what's going to happen.

Copyright © 2008  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action